A big crop of disappointed gardeners

A promising crop of heirloom tomatoes was still on the vine when the big hail storm hit Pueblo July 29.

green-tomato-on-vine-blogThis may turn out to be one of the most disappointing gardening seasons on record for gardeners along the Front Range, especially because there were so many new vegetable gardeners this season.

New gardeners who planted Victory Gardens this year in an effort to save money on groceries, learned one of the hard lessons experienced gardeners know all too well: staying optimistic despite a season of bad weather and devastating hail storms.

A chilly May delayed planting warm-weather crops and then there were the drenching rains in June. In fact, Denver recorded it’s second wettest June on record.

While this weather was great for flowers and cool-season vegetables, like the peas and lettuces I had growing, it didn’t do much for their warm-weather veggie friends. The tomato and peppers didn’t budge for a month.

It was a different story farther south. Pueblo bounced back from its early cool weather and the plants in my mother-in-law’s little garden sprang into action. We compared tomato and pepper progress weekly and she was definitely winning the tomato derby this year.

She tried to buck up my flagging spirits telling me there was still plenty of time left for growing.

John and I visited the weekend of the July 25th and her garden was loaded with potential. She shared her first delicious crop with us, a stem of luscious Black Cherry tomatoes, two big Paul Robeson tomatoes and one yellow Dulcia.

Just a few days later, one of Colorado’s worst hail storms hit Pueblo on July 29. Many of the almost-ready-to-pick tomatoes and peppers were severely damaged by the hail and the plants all took a beating, too.

It’s still too early to say whether any of these will bounce back. It depends on the weather and how long a season we’ll have this year.

We both agree that we can’t complain too much. After all, there are farms and farmers that suffered much, much bigger loses.

All we can do at this point is to follow their lead and start planning now for next year.

How has your garden fared this year? Please share your story by posting a comment here.


 

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